(GREAT BEND, Kan.) — An hour-long vigil in memory of 14-year-old Alicia DeBolt brought hundreds to Jack Kilby Square in Great Bend Sunday night.
The Great Bend teen disappeared more than a week ago. Her body was found days later burned beyond recognition at an asphalt plant five miles southwest of town.
While organizers say they originally planned the event as a small gathering, the crowd packed the square outside the Barton County Courthouse.
DeBolt's family members were welcomed just before the start of the vigil with hugs and tears.
The number of DeBolt's classmates who were struggling to control their emotions at any particular moment was overwhelming.
"Alicia's friends with everybody, and she just likes everybody," cried Ariel Harris, a Great Bend High School freshman. "She's a really sweet girl, and she didn't deserve this."
Crystal Brown organized the vigil. Her daughter was a friend of DeBolt's, and Brown saw meaning as dozens of U.S. flags blew in the wind.